Advocacy seems to be a common theme when discussing feminist issues. Advocacy for those who can’t advocate for themselves. Or perhaps advocacy for an idea or a cause. But we rarely talk about being an advocate for yourself and your body at times of crisis. Let me explain. But first, let me introduce myself.
My name is Megan and I’m a 29 year old writer/blogger living in Houston, Texas. My interests include Club Monaco, watching romantic comedies, shellac manicures, Gossip Girl, and maintaining my unrequited relationship with Jay-Z.
Last year I was diagnosed with BOTH ovarian and breast cancer – at the same time! No one was more surprised than me. I was young! I was fit! My doctor wanted to perform a full hysterectomy, lumpectomy, and chemo. I consented of course. But first, under the persuasion of my mother, I agreed to get a second opinion. I flew to Boston and met with a doctor at Mass. General.
Guess what? He told me I didn’t have breast cancer, nor did he recommend these radical procedures. After seeking a 3rd opinion as a tie breaker, I ended up only having one ovary removed, no chemo, and went on my merry way.
Fast forward to a year later when I visited a fertility doctor. Upon reading the imaging of my remaining ovary, this doctor told he could get me pregnant no problem! Yay! He immediately wanted to schedule a procedure to “pop” the cyst on my remaining ovary. He was confident this cyst was the culprit in preventing my pregnancy. I believed him but decided to get a second opinion just to be sure.
Guess what? That cyst wasn’t a cyst – it was more cancer. Had I let this fertility doctor do his thing, his procedure would have spread the cancer throughout my entire abdomen.
Are you scared yet? You should be! But not of cancer, nor of doctors. What I want you to fear is not advocating for yourself. And your body! Advocating means doing your due diligence. Getting a second opinion! Third! Fourth even.
When you are given dire news about your health, you retreat into shock. You’re scared and vulnerable. Even the most confident, driven woman can become meek and passive. These sentiments are normal and it’s fine to feel this way. It’s part of the healing process. But these very emotions are the precise reason why you need to decide today, while you’re a healthy, confident woman, that God forbid should you ever be faced with something like this, the first step will be to get a 2nd opinion. Make that decision now. That way if the time does come, you’ll not only be paralyzed with emotion, but also liberated with a plan.
Having all these doctors telling me conflicting things was scary. But I learned an important lesson. Always advocate for yourself and your body when faced with a medical dilemma. It could save your life. And no matter what, you’ll never regret doing it.
Megan is a writer/blogger living in Houston. She is currently writing a memoir about her brief episode with cancer last year. To find more about Megan visit her blog, Greeting from Texas.